Wasteland Kings

Do you know how to tell the difference between knowing about God and knowing Him personally?

Understanding this distinction is not easy. It’s even harder to apply it to our lives. Even though most of us want to really get to know God, we don’t know how or where to start a relationship with an all-powerful being.

The answer comes from our relationships with other people.

We need to approach getting to know God in a similar way to how we get to know other people. Most of us get to know other people by spending time with them. The same is true in our relationship with God.

If we know a good deal about someone and yet do not know them personally it’s kind of odd. It would be very odd if I read a book about a girl instead of taking a girl on a few dates. The book would probably tell me more information about the girl, but I wouldn’t really get to know her.

There is a difference between knowing where a girl grew up and knowing her laugh.

If you asked a close friend of mine to describe me, I hope they wouldn’t focus on things that you can discover on my Facebook. The same should be true in our relationship with God. If someone asked us to describe God, our answer should focus on what God has done in our lives and probably not the last sermon we heard.

The Journey from the Head to the Heart

Many of us, myself included, tend to answer that question with lines from sermons and good Christian books because our head knowledge supersedes our heart knowledge. We know about God more than we really know Him on a personal level. The only way to fix this problem is to cultivate a personal relationship with God.

I understand it probably feels uncomfortable and a little crazy to have a relationship with God that looks anything like a friendship or dating relationship.

I struggle with this idea myself. I generally have a low opinion of myself and I struggle with co-dependency. When you put those two together, you get someone who thinks their worth only comes from what they can provide or do for others.

That becomes a little tricky when I try to offer something to the infinite and all-powerful God.

The Difference Between Theology and Relationship

My story of developing a personal relationship with God is a very long and awkward story. I grew up in a Christian home and went to a Christian school all the way through High School. I had tons of head knowledge and only a tiny bit of heart knowledge.

I assumed I was supposed to combine my head knowledge with my analytical abilities and come up with ground-breaking ways of looking at Christianity. I literally thought that working through theological ideas and telling them to others was the greatest expression of my personal relationship with God.

It was a perfect plan except for the fact that God wasn’t actually there.

I thought about Him. I talked about Him. I just didn’t actually spend any time with Him.

My personal relationship with God didn’t start until I experienced more of Him in a relational way. This awesome journey started when I got into a small group of Christian guys and began inviting Him into the parts of my day that weren’t explicitly spiritual. This helped me just spend time with God instead of focusing on the theology I was learning or teaching.

Hanging Out With God

My small group helped because they reflected Christ’s love to me. They gave me a physical and personal representation of God’s love for me. Spending time with them also helped me recognize that God’s presence is with me even when I’m just hanging out and having fun.

I didn’t know that growing up. I assumed I had to earn God’s presence. I thought God only paid attention when I was doing something important.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. – Matthew 18:20

You don’t have to be doing a Bible study or building an orphanage to gather in Jesus’ name. You just have to get together with some Christians for the sake of spending time with other members of the body of Christ. It helps remind ourselves of this purpose with a simple prayer at the beginning of hanging out.

Little Prayers

Even though it may seem really weird to start off guy’s night or girl time with a prayer, it REALLY helps bring God into your personal life.

It doesn’t have to sound Holy. You can just talk about the sunshine. I’m not kidding.

The point is that you’re actively acknowledging God’s presence

There is a profound journey that happens between meeting someone and becoming their best friend. That journey always revolves around seeking their presence and spending time with them. For me, that journey started when I started seeking and experiencing God in a relational way.

I didn’t really understand the difference between knowing about God and really knowing Him when I started my journey. I only understood that difference after I walked down the path of developing a personal relationship with Him. My journey is far from over and it will continue to teach me more about the God who loves me with a love that never ends.

There is always more of God. Each step brings open my eyes a little wider with wonder. We all must take part in this journey to bridge that gap between knowing about God and truly knowing Him.

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